“Another fault line in the Church”

Good morning to you, Brother Ruff!

I want to give you a little feedback from outside the liturgist community. I am a laywoman, mother of six including one daughter who is gay and has left the Church, another daughter who is committed to the Church to the degree that she is paying her way through night school at the local seminary. Over the last 30 years I have taught Faith Formation, led Children’s Liturgy of the Word and sung in choir, so I guess I fall into the category of active laywoman.

Here is what I wanted to say to you: the introduction of the new translation is going to cause yet another fault line in the Church. Many (most?) pastors, liturgists, choir directors, music leaders, etc. seem to be making a good faith effort to bite the bullet and put a good face on things. Despite what personal reservations they may have, they are doing what they can to ease the transition. I realized this morning my irritation at this, a feeling that they have capitulated too soon. Coming from a large family, I’ve learned to keep my irritations to myself. Other people will not. To be quite clear, I expect we will not only see a split among parishes, as in, these parishes follow the new translation and those parishes don’t, but also within parishes. Some people will resent those seen as foisting the new translation upon them. Others will insist on respecting the authority of the Vatican. Pastors and staffs will be caught in the middle.

Most of what I’ve read on the Pray Tell  site seems to have focused on the actual translations with additional discussion of the politics behind the translations. I think your contributors and readers are very sensitive to the concept that words have meaning. I believe that the switch to the new translation will be much more traumatic than the switch from Latin. For most people, the switch from Latin to the vernacular was a switch from pious gibberish (sorry – most people did not and do not understand Latin!) to a clear proclamation of the Good News. The message overrode any clumsy or ugly words.  I’m afraid that the switch to the new translation will be seen as a distortion of the Good News meant to prop up the power of the clergy. I think that many people will not tolerate a perceived attempt to twist the liturgy to this purpose.

My own large, vibrant Vatican II parish was merged with a smaller, failing parish under the leadership of a priest dedicated to the “reform of the reform.” The result is an ongoing disaster. I fear the implementation of the new translation will be another, much larger disaster.

I don’t know what I expect you to do with this observation. I guess I’m just hoping that some additional early warning of the oncoming disaster might help some people prepare.

Thank you for all your good work.

Brigid Rauch
Fulton, New York


  1. Dear Brigid,
    In about an hour I’m going to begin teaching today’s classes (1st, 4/5th) of our parochial school the ICEL chant setting (attr. Fr. AW Ruff, OSB) of the MR3 Glory to God. I ‘ll teach it to the other 2nd-8th grades tomorrow.
    I’ll let you know how it all worked out

    1. Dear Charles,

      From my limited experience of teaching Latin chant and English chant to grade-schoolers, I suspect they will respond well to your enthusiasm and will sing the chant without much problem.

      I doubt, though, that the grade-schoolers will offer us much useful data on how adults might react to the coming translation in the context of a divided church and a church leadership which lacks credibility for many laypeople. That was the topic of Brigid’s letter.


      1. When the Mass went from Latin to English with all kinds of creative translations and changes to rubrics, nobody seemed to care about the opinion of of the multitudes.

        I for one am happy to see the reform of the reform. and there will be dissidents. But we have them already, so that won’t be anything new.

        The Church moves slowly and often chaotically. But Jesus promised that he will be with us until the end of time.

      2. I think Ray Marshall is correct (although I’d state it slightly differently): the multitudes were not consulted in the transition from Latin to English. The authorities “got away with it” because they had the credibility of the masses, and because the vast majority (though certainly not all) of the faithful supported the change.

        A key question is whether a monarchical top-down authority structure will ever again have credibility for Catholic people who live and work and vote within more democratic structures. As late as 1965, and to some extent the years of reform right after 1965, the monarchical structure of the Church was not questioned by most of the faithful. Pre-Vatican II Catholic culture had managed to keep alive the last functioning absolute monarchy in the West.

        If authorities wish to impose any change today, they will need two things: credibility, and the change will have to be supported by a solid majority of the faithful.

        But that’s not what we have now. Monarchy is no longer self-evidently legitimate; members of the hierarchy have lessened their credibility in the eyes of many because of their handling of scandal; the translation the authorities are about to impose is not supported by a vast majority of clergy, lay ministers, or faithful.

        Meanwhile, so many ministers and the faithful have such unbelievably good will that they will try to do their best with something they don’t really care for. And the authorities are staging a full-court press (DVDs, books, pamphlets, leaflets, CDs, etc.) to convince them of the change. It will be interesting to see how all these dynamics play out going forward.


  2. If only the institution presented the gospel with enthusiasm and cheer, then perhaps we would see a good and wholesome response by the laity.

    As for myself, yes, I am caught in the middle. My pastors says we will implement, and we will. We realize that our students come from parishes that, by and large, will implement.

    By the time you get to older Catholics–people who have seen their LGBT friends alienated, or who have known abuse victims, or who see the institution out of touch with the major struggles of the life of the baptized–there you find people who wonder about priorities.

    In 1969, we still had a confidence in church authorities. Today, not so much. I think we continue our tenacity for change and reform as we are able. Starting with ourselves, I think, to give good example to those with us and those detached.

    PS: Thank you, Brigid. Well said.

    1. Mr. Flowerday:

      If by “institution,” you mean, “the Church,” then I’m afraid your first sentence makes no sense. It would be like saying, “If only the Senate would present the Gospel with enthusiasm and cheer, then we would see a good and wholesome response by the Senators.”

      I was born in 1983. I still have confidence in Church authorities. So much so that left all my family and friends, who are Protestant and have been since — literally — the Reformation, to go through RCIA and join the Church at Easter 2009.

      I couldn’t disagree with Brigid more.

  3. Fr. Anthony,
    No snark intended in my post in the slightest.
    I got Briged’s point, and like Todd, appreciate her perspective.
    Practically speaking, though, we have to start somewhere.

    1. Charles – OK, thanks for the clarification. Sorry if I misread you. I appreciate your comment.

  4. I speak as one who is not comfortable with the new translation of the assembly texts. Some would say it’s taken us 40 years to get UK Catholic congregations singing. I dispute this as, when researching for my MMus a couple of years ago, I discovered it’s taken us 40 years to get SOME UK Catholic congregations singing. What has been achieved, those settings which have become reasonably well-known, must now be thrown away and we must start from scratch.

    In my own parish, however, I suspect it will not be a great problem. One Sunday, in the foreseeable future, I will introduce our assembly to a new Holy and Acclamation: they may, or may not, notice that “hosts” has replaced “power and might”. But the tune will help them remember the words: And they’re a great crowd, always approaching new music in a positive fashion.

    And as most of the changes for the assembly are sung texts….

    Hang on, what about those parishes which haven’t yet got round to singing the assembly’s words in the first place?

    And what about those parishes who do sing – but haven’t yet got around to the present translation, preferring some strange versified song…

    I’m reminded of a workshop I led a couple of years ago about music for the present translation: specifically eucharistic acclamations. One participant – a very dedicated parish musician and a Catholic secondary school teacher – asked me: “Why does it matter if we sing the exact words or not?” I knew the answer but, somehow, I couldn’t give it – at least, not the way I’d have liked to.

    I think we’re in for an interesting time.

  5. In my rudimentary understanding of the history of chant and monastic education, weren’t CHILDREN taught the first chant melodies by rote memorization and association with the 150 Psalms? And that, like most or all oral traditions, is edified and solidified in a collective cultural “memory” over time, later to be sytematically recalled by the evolution of symbiology and notation.
    Unlike the harsh Limbaugh, I loathe the notion that children have “brains full of mush.” The child’s capacity to store vast amounts of “input” and to cognitively associate and evoke them is, i believe, scientific fact.
    Where better to start this moment?
    When should we move from philosophy/debate to practice?
    How would you have us proceed?

  6. Brigid – As a cleric concerned with and about the upcoming translation – which feels and sounds more horrendous each time I see a new piece of it – I was with you until your mention of the translation “propping up” the clergy. What does that mean? I’m more aware of clergy who feel rather clobbered by the whole thing, and the daunting task of having to implement it and proclaim what, in so many instances, doesn’t make sense.

    1. First, I apologize for not knowing the proper terms for all the Masses. I was surprised to learn that the current English Mass is not only a translation but also has significant changes from the old Latin Mass. The new translation will be more accurate, and some will find that good. The new translation preserves latinate phrasing and baroque phrases ( (holy hands instead of hands, chalice instead of cup). It also emphasizes the role of the priest as intercessor (“and with your spirit” in place of “and also with you”). People who are already upset with their bishop or pastor will hear this as the aural equivalent of the magna cappa. Unfortunately, many will aim their ire at priests no more happy with these changes than themselves.

      1. People who are already upset with their bishop or pastor will hear this as the aural equivalent of the magna cappa.

        This is what I read in your letter, but I felt awkward pointing it out, but now you have. This isn’t about the translation. You’re already mad at your pastor and your bishop and you are reading the translation through that lens. It’s really not reasonable to see the translation as “a distortion of the Good News meant to prop up the power of the clergy.”

        That people who have bad relationships will continue to have bad relationships doesn’t surprise.

  7. I share Brigid’s concern… regardless of the liturgical-musical arguments that we go back and forth here (which is valuable, do not get me wrong), I believe that a majority of people in the pews may receive this through a different lens, that of their growing discontent with the church in general, and this being the straw that breaks the camel’s back for them.

    Personally, I think younger children may make the transition easier, as they do not have the years of history with the present text.

    The pastoral concerns here are HUGE… and while of course, I promote the need for good catechesis and preparation, for some folks, this will not matter, no matter how well we prepare and implement.

    In the past 4 months, I have already presented a dozen workshops bringing the most positive message that I can muster – with the background and rationale, trying to calm people down and have an open mind, and trying to help them receive this thing positively. At every event so far, there is a decent number of people who just don’t buy it. They are angry, worried, and stressed about this… and these are primarily leadership people (liturgists, music directors, and pastors!).

    If we think Brigid is off track in her concerns, I can personally attest to the fact that they are REAL.

    We better prepare ourselves.

  8. as I see it, Mrs. Rauch’s experience makes her a member of the ‘people-that-run-things’. In my mind, this includes most American clergy along with the Catholic Schools/Religious ed/Church music depts among others.

    Is there anyone, outside of the ‘p-t-r-t’ that is getting steamed up because we will have to say ‘and with your spirit’? I don’t think so. Not unless the ‘p-t-r-t’ hand them pitchforks and point them to the tower where Franken-tzinger lives!

    I can just see Mrs. Rauch teaching the Faith…..

    ‘Imagine, children, for 1,500 years until 1973 the Catholic Church imposed PIOUS GIBBERISH on the laity! It is only for a mere 40 years that we have had a clear proclamation of the Good News, and now the Pope wants us to use CLUMSY and UGLY words like -for instance- ‘spirit’ and ‘soul’ and ‘Incarnation’!’

    The American p-t-r-t are being corrected. They need the humility to accept it for what it is.

    1. “People that run things” or “people who stand up when called upon to assist the priests”? The p-t-r-t, as you call them; teach the children, visit the sick, provide music, arrange hospitality, etc. It’s a role that can be abused so that there are insiders and outsiders. On the other hand, it’s rather insulting to assume that the bulk of the people at Mass have no understanding of nuance, of the difference between using this word instead of that word.
      Rest easy, I never taught anything like what you suppose. However, I must point out that like many others, you conflate the hierarchy with the Church. The Church is the entire people of God, clergy and laity alike. Perhaps it is the higher clergy that needs to learn humility, not the laity.

      1. –Rest easy, I never taught anything like what you suppose–

        Then you didn’t teach them how you really feel?

        –it’s rather insulting to assume that the bulk of the people at Mass have no understanding of nuance, of the difference between using this word instead of that word.–

        Not that we don’t understand, more like we don’t care. Especially if, as you admit above, the new translation will be more accurate. Exchanging inaccuracy for accuracy. What’s to get upset about?

        — you conflate the hierarchy with the Church. —

        where in the world did you find that? Because I don’t conflate the p-t-r-t with the Church? There is a dangerous game being played by American p-t-r-t who want us to follow their lead when they won’t follow the pope’s lead. Someday we just might ask the question:

        If you won’t listen to the pope, then why should we listen to you?

      2. George said: “the new translation will be more accurate. Exchanging inaccuracy for accuracy. What’s to get upset about?”

        I’ve always understood translation to be about conveying meaning. When my German friends speak to me, they do not translate each sentence – they tell me the facts in English. But this translation appears to be about transliteration (if that’s the right word, suspect it isn’t).

        I don’t know about those on the other side of the Atlantic, but here in the UK “And with your spirit” is meaningless. I believe some of our continental cousins will understand it but, trust me, here North Liverpool it will mean little.

        I was discussing all this with a cathedral MD friend tonight. After 40 years some, not all, but some, of our parishes now sing the liturgy (100+ since Pius X asked us to, admittedly, but we move slowly in Britain, that’s why we’ve never had a revolution). In a few short months, this repertoire will be swept away. “Lord God of hosts” – means nothing to me but I’m sure the scholars understand it – will knock out “Lord, God of power and might”.

        I could go on but I’ve had too much scotch and need another. Living in the UK, I have it without ice.

      3. +JMJ+

        Nick, “Lord of hosts” / “God of hosts” is a biblical title, used nearly 300 times in the OT. I’m not sure how much you read the Bible, but if Catholics were more familiar with Scripture (e.g. Isaiah 6 or Rev 4, where the “Holy, Holy, Holy” is drawn from) they might recognize phrases like “God of hosts”.

        Sure, God is powerful and mighty. But that’s not what “Dominus Deus Sabaoth” means. It means “Lord God of hosts”. The angelic hosts, the multitude of angels in the heavenly army.

      4. Jeffrey, I am not questioning the origins of the text. I am simply asking about the usefulness of literal translation and how people will adapt. We might recognise “hosts” but what does it mean to us?

      5. +JMJ+

        Nick, you said that “Lord God of hosts” “means nothing to me.” Why does it mean nothing to you? Is that a defect of the text which needs to be overcome? If so, why do our translations of the Bible (NAB, RSV, etc.) not fix the defect? Or is it a personal defect which needs to be overcome?

        What does “Lord God of hosts” tell me? That the Lord commands the heavenly army of angels. This military language reminds me that we are waging a spiritual battle, and God and His saints and angels are our allies.

        I think we need to rise to the level of the liturgy. We need to learn its language. It has a lot to teach us.

      6. Since this is a discussion about translation, can I point out that “Lord/God of Hosts” does NOT occur in the Hebrew or the Greek. “Host” is a translation into English, and a pretty obscure one. “Lord/God of armies” is more literal and more comprehensible.

        A principal difficulty here is that the word “host” has other meanings that are used in discussing this part of the liturgy. From Wikipedia: “A host is a portion of bread used for Holy Communion..The word ‘host’ is derived from the Latin hostia, which means ‘sacrificial victim’.” So even if host=armies is a reasonable translation of Isaiah, it is obscured by the other meanings in the liturgical context, and may not be a good translation there.

        Now I need to go contemplate the intriguing possibility “Lord/God of Sacrificial Victims.”

      7. +JMJ+

        Yes, “host” can mean both “army” and “Eucharistic bread”. But I believe people are smart enough to know when it it means one thing and when it means another.

        Why is the translation of צָבָא (sabaoth) as “hosts” obscure?

      8. +JMJ+

        We still sing “Silent Night”, right? (You know, the German hymn first accompanied with guitar when the organ broke…) I believe the English translation has the line “heav’nly hosts sing ‘alleluia'”. Do people really think the hymn is referring to Eucharistic hosts singing in Heaven?

        Do people know “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”? Or is that passed over because it uses the phrase “Holy Ghost”? That “common doxology” rhymes “Holy Ghost” with “heav’nly host”.

      9. “Lord God of the armies of heaven” is much more evocative than “Lord God of hosts”.

        But the phrasing and poetry of the Holy Holy would need adapting to get the rhythm right. It’s not easy, which brings us back to the absurdity of word for word translation.

      10. OMG.

        For all those years I thought “Lord God of Hosts” meant “Lord who are in the Hosts that we receive at communion”, and today, I learn here on this blog that I was completely wrong all along!

      11. Assume that my ignorance about the meaning of “hosts” is representative of a large fraction of the people who go to Mass. It’s easy to argue that I should have known better. But I am talking about what *is*, not about what *should be*. It had never occured to me that I might be confused about “hosts”!

        Yet I do everything that regular lay people are supposed to do for their education — go to Mass every week, meditate on every reading, listen to every homily, and take up every opportunity offered by my parish for instruction. I am quite sure that participants to this blog have much better religious education, but I am equally sure that my religious education is at least as good as that of the vast majority of lay people. So my ignorance points to a problem, not with me personally, but with the understanding of people in general.

        For people like me, who presumably do not see most of the biblical references of the Mass, and who are so ignorant that we do not even realize how ignorant we are, the qualities of the new translation, such as they are, will be wasted on us.

      12. +JMJ+

        (Edit: Let me sum up my concern: I wish that people would be better formed to participate in the liturgy more fully. This formation is both internal and external. I think the external formation gets far more attention.)

        Assume that my ignorance about the meaning of “hosts” is representative of a large fraction of the people who go to Mass. … My ignorance points to a problem, not with me personally, but with the understanding of people in general.

        Yes, this is indicative of a greater problem of familiarity with the language of the liturgy (and the language of Scripture). I’m not saying we all have to be liturgical scholars or genuises, but pastors of souls should have been taking the time (at least since 1963) to help those faithful under their care know these things.

        Did anyone here go to Midnight Mass for Christmas? The beautiful first reading from Isaiah 9 ends by saying that “The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!” What a pity if people misunderstood that title, or simply zoned out and passed it over as gibberish (pious or otherwise). Why should we be tuning out parts of Scripture on Christmas (or any other day)?

        Discounting the times we hear the title in the Psalms and in the Alleluia verse, a bit of investigation reveals that we hear the title used in 46 different readings throughout the year. It’s used on eight Sundays throughout the cycle:

        4th Sunday of Advent (B), 1st rdg (2 Sam 7:1-16)
        5th Sunday in OT (C), 1st rdg (Isa 6:1-8)
        12th Sunday in OT (A), 1st rdg (Jer 20:10-13)
        26th Sunday in OT (B), 2nd rdg (James 5:1-6)
        27th Sunday in OT (A), 1st rdg (Isa 5:1-7)
        28th Sunday in OT (A), 1st rdg (Isa 25:6-10)
        31st Sunday in OT (A), 1st rdg (Mal 1:14-2:2, 8-10)
        33rd Sunday in OT (C), 1st rdg (Mal 3:19-20) <– we heard this not too long ago

        We also hear it at the Easter Vigil (when not truncated), in the 4th reading (Isa 54:5-14).

        It’s used on some other memorials and feasts: Presentation of the Lord, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Queenship, All Souls, Presentation of the Virgin, St. Nicholas, and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

        And then on plenty of weekdays.

        For people [who] do not see most of the biblical references of the Mass, and who are so ignorant that we do not even realize how ignorant we are, the qualities of the new translation, such as they are, will be wasted.

        That’s disappointing and discouraging. But that’s also why catechesis is necessary, regardless of how good or bad the translation is. That’s one of the things I’ve been trying to do: educate people about the Scripture embedded in the Mass so that they understand it better, so that it is meaningful to them.

        I just got back from a parish near Memphis where I did just that!

    2. I don’t know about those on the other side of the Atlantic, but here in the UK “And with your spirit” is meaningless.

      Rather less so than in the U.S. actually. There’s this thing called the “Book of Common Prayer”…

      we move slowly in Britain, that’s why we’ve never had a revolution).

      What? There’s quite famously the “Glorious Revolution,” not to mention the English Civil War.

  9. Nick,

    My wife is German who, in our earlier years when her English was not so good, used to get livid with me when I didn’t ‘translate each sentence’. One time at the doctor’s office I tried to explain to her that I couldn’t call her nurse ‘bloede Kuh’ (studid cow). It’s just not done! She then called me a ‘Typische Amerikanische Aengst-Hase’. (Scaredy bunny).

    –I could go on but I’ve had too much scotch and need another. — Have one for me!

    1. George,

      No, that wouldn’t have gone well at all, and I doubt you’d have been physically able to translate the nurse’s response….

      I do like the ‘Aengst-Hase’ phrase!

      Thank you for an amusing visual, though I quite understand that your real point was something altogether different.

  10. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    Nick, “Lord of hosts” / “God of hosts” is a biblical title, used nearly 300 times in the OT. I’m not sure how much you read the Bible, but if Catholics were more familiar with Scripture (e.g. Isaiah 6 or Rev 4, where the “Holy, Holy, Holy” is drawn from) they might recognize phrases like “God of hosts”.
    Sure, God is powerful and mighty. But that’s not what “Dominus Deus Sabaoth” means. It means “Lord God of hosts”. The angelic hosts, the multitude of angels in the heavenly army.

    Why translate Sabaoth at all? The word is Hebrew and is left untranslated in the Latin. We don’t translate Alleluia or Hosanna after all.

    1. Try Sabaoth in the Google translater on its own and then try the whole first line of the Sanctus. Interesting comparison.

    2. +JMJ+

      Not translating “Sabaoth” is an option, for the reasons you point out. I would still want people to know what the word means when they pray it, though, as I hope they know what “Alleluia” and “Hosanna” mean.

      As for whether or not to translate it… “Hosanna” is left “as is” in our English translations of Matt 21:9, though, and “Sabaoth” is not left “as is” in our English translations, except in one verse of the KJV and three verses of the DR. From a scriptural familiarity with the terms, I’d say there’s more familiarity with “Hosanna” than with “Sabaoth”, and if that can factor into the decision, it should.

      1. I’m curious as to the word’s origin in the Latin liturgy. The Vulgate translates it as ‘exercituum’ in Isaiah 6. In the translation of the Divine Liturgy used by Ukrainian Catholics in Canada it is left as Sabaoth, so I suspect the word appears in the Hebrew in the Greek liturgy. This makes sense insofar as the LXX reads: “ἅγιος, ἅγιος, ἅγιος Κύριος σαβαώθ.”

      2. +JMJ+

        Yes, Richard, in the Greek text of the D.L. of John Chrysostom, they chant “Ἅγιος, ἅγιος, ἅγιος Κύριος Σαβαώθ“.

        The Vulgate retains “Sabaoth” in the OT in only one verse, Jeremiah 11:20. The word also appears twice in the NT: Romans 9:29 and James 5:4. (The Douay-Rheims renders these as “[of] Sabaoth”.) Everywhere else in the OT and NT it’s “exercituum” (“of hosts”).

        My guess is that the Latin Sanctus is a carry-over from the Greek Divine Liturgy. Thus, it has “Sabaoth” and “(H)osanna”, following the Greek liturgical text instead of its own vulgate scriptural text.

      3. I’m wondering if there’s an anti-gnostic element to it. Certain gnostic groups taught that Sabaoth was the name of the God of the Old Testament and that he was evil. So “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Sabaoth” is an explicit rejection of this gnostic doctrine.

        The translation was disputed at least as far back as the time of Ambrose:

        “Now the translators have, for the Lord of Sabaoth, rendered in some places the Lord of Hosts, in others the Lord the King, and in others the Lord Omnipotent.”


  11. Brigid Rauch — thank you!

    The problem is staring us all in the face. The South Africa reaction made it as plain as day. But those whom the gods wish to destroy…

  12. Interesting letter with some valid concerns – there are people for whom this translation will be a huge problem, or for whom it will seem like an uncalled-for exercise in power. It doesn’t help that there are some real problems with the new translations (and I don’t mean things like “Lord God of hosts” or “and with your spirit”).

    The “pious gibberish” slam was uncalled for. It really annoys me that so many cannot love or care about English liturgy without putting down the use of Latin. I fully and actively participated in a Mass with such “pious gibberish” last weekend, yet also care about how English is employed in the liturgy.

    1. Would it make you feel better to know that two of my children took four years of Latin in high school?
      I apologize for my clumsy phrasing. I didn’t mean to criticize the Latin. What I was trying to convey is that many people had no idea what was being said up on the altar. I’m old enough to have recited the Latin responses at pre-Vatican II Masses. Although I did read the side-by-side English translation in my missal, I have to admit that for me the actual words were nonsense syllables.

      That said, I would like to see a Church that makes room for all of us. It shouldn’t be a case of either an English Mass or a Latin Mass, but an English Mass for those who prefer it AND a Latin Mass for those who prefer it. I don’t think there is one best Mass, but that each should be able to celebrate in a meaningful manner. For some, that is a teenage tambourine Mass, for others, a solemn high Latin Mass. We have to be able to respect each other enough to respect our different ways of prayer.

      1. Brigid, when Our Lord was teaching, he didn’t ask his hearers to show him their different ways of prayer. He showed them. There’s something very wrong — very wrong indeed — with an approach that assumes the real, authentic prayer is already within and that Jesus through the Church has nothing to teach us. There’s a sulphurous whiff of “non serviam” here.

        Division is part of Jesus’s mission. It is part of conversion. Jesus is not all things to all people; he calls them blessed who’re not scandalized by this.

      2. “I would like to see a Church that makes room for all of us. It shouldn’t be a case of either an English Mass or a Latin Mass, but an English Mass for those who prefer it AND a Latin Mass for those who prefer it.”

        Good heavens! That’s what we have had the last 40 years, except that it is not that easy to find a “Latin Mass” in either the ordinary or extra-ordinary form. (Are you familiar with those terms, Brigid?)

        I bet everyone here could pretty easily get themselves to a teenage tambourine Mass, or a more dignified celebration, this Sunday.

        Indeed, our present Holy Father did exactly as you ask in 2007, with Summorum Pontificum, liberating the “old” Latin Mass. (Are you aware of Summorum Pontificum?)

        So, rather than being angry at the hierarchy, perhaps you should thank the guy at the top, Benedict XVI, for doing exactly as you seem to desire.

    2. Jack –

      Thinking it over, my “pious gibberish” remark was meant to convey the notion that many Catholics did not have a strong attachment to the Latin because the words had no meaning for them, but may have a very strong attachment to the current English translation.

      1. It’s my opinion that the experience of people who use Latin liturgically today is likely to be much different than that of people prior to the Council. I think that many would agree that today’s participants in Latin liturgy are much more intentional about liturgy and Latin than those of yesteryear.

        That being said, Brigid’ point comparing the switch from Latin to the vernacular to the implementation of new translation is interesting and important. I think that in many cases our current translation is burned into Catholics’ religious imagination.

        Personally, I wish those responsible for implementation would adopt an approach that pays honor to the words of the liturgy that we’ve using for over a generation. These are words (whatever their degree of ‘accuracy’) that have borne the prayer of the English-speaking Roman Catholic Church to the Father in Christ through the Holy Spirit. Have not these words, from their very use, been in some way anointed? As we implement a new translation, should we not respect the prayers we’ve been using in some analogous way to the way we treat a body after death?

        I don’t think it’s wrong to lament the loss of the current translation. Indeed, its loss can be lamented at the same time as one can look forward to a new one (life is like that, no?). Its loss can even be lamented without having to defend its questionable quality. It can simply be a lamentation at the loss of words that have been invested with an ultimate significance through their liturgical use by God’s people.

  13. Thank you Brigid.

    Yes, it is most unfortunate that the translation wars of the last twenty years can be validly interpreted through the lens of a move to divide the Church along a more defined clerical/lay divide, to put the laity back in front of the restored altar rails. In the view of some the laity have simply become too familiar, or in their jargon “have lost the sense of the sacred at Mass”. The move to latinized English is part of a (useless) reaction to try fix this.

    The focus is wrong. Changing words is futile if we don’t first concentrate on properly educating clergy in liturgical theology and training them in the liturgical arts – how to preside properly, to be able to know what makes good liturgy, what is good theology, good priestcraft, appropriate inculturation, how to lead by example, in collaboration, humility and in service, and to know why the laity are so utterly essential and their absense (whether in spirit or body) makes priestly ministry void.

    Believe me, in South Africa, the new words have done absolutely nothing to improve the quality of our liturgies in English. If anything, they’ve just obscured meaning a little and irritated laity, priests and bishops, distracting them from far more important issues.

    1. –move to divide the Church along a more defined clerical/lay divide, to put the laity back in front of the restored altar rails. —

      but Graham, what about those who don’t go to church to be seen? Should we only feel like we’ve been to church if we are up scurrying about the sanctuary?

      I think promoting the idea that we are somehow being cheated if we don’t stand next to the priest promotes a kind of pharisee-ism [in the pejorative sense of the word].

      when you say ”the new words have done absolutely nothing to improve the quality of our liturgies” you leave out an important phrase. “in my opinion”

    2. But this will change over time. Nothing worth while brings instant success. Retraining clergy and liturgist FIRST is not how to overcome this problem. Retrain and then send them out with defective translations? Not really. Allow them to use the new translations and then retrain so their minds and hearts rise to the level of the Liturgy. Not the other way around. If changing words was futile then there would be no opposition, no uprising. New Missal, New training have to go hand in hand.

  14. I dislike both “Lord God of hosts” and “Lord God of power and might” and I think that we must get beyond such linguistic sawdust if we wish to evoke the presence of God convincingly for today.

  15. I truly mean nothing snarky, but reading Brigid’s letter brings to mind an image of a big ship approaching a monster iceberg. . .

  16. Isn’t South Africa the best predictor? According to http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2010/06/23/south-africas-other-playing-field/
    “a sizeable group of Catholics do not like the new texts because they perceive them to be inferior English, and because they find objectionable the use of “man” (in EP 4) and “men” (in the creed) to refer all people.”
    “some parishes still use the 1973 translation in full, some out of inertia, some because they consider the new product inferior. ”

    I see complaints on the end result in itself but not on the relation between the English text and the Latin text, per se. How litteral the translation is really does not matter to us: what matters is the end product. I think that it’s a mistake to erect accuracy of translation as an intrinsic value. The reasons why accuracy is desirable are (as I gather) theological correctness and manifest unity across regions of the world – important goals that have value. Accuracy of translation is meant to be a tool to those ends, not an end in itself. The result should be evaluated on its own qualities, and to see if it achieved the initial goals, one should look at theological accuracy and worldwide unity, not at particular translation rules.

  17. I respectfully disagree with Brigid Rauch about how the rank-and-file in the pews will accept the new translation. Her concerns seemed to gain traction until she got to the part about “the power of the clergy,” where she seemed to reduce everything to a power struggle. Those who reduce every controversy in the church into a political struggle for power weaken their argument considerably. I take comfort in my belief (however tenuous) that mass-going Catholics in English-speaking countries have imbibed the Gospel deeply enough to see through such talk. They know that true power is what Jesus said it was.

    I have always likened seeing and hearing a more accurate translation of the mass to seeing the restored Michaelangelo Sistine Chapel ceiling. Some people throughout the ages did not want you to see what Michaelangelo painted, and they had the power to cover it or change it somehow. Though the restoration was controversial, most hailed it as refreshingly, stunningly, suprisingly beautiful.

    The restoration was done by experts, but I heard that other experts were critical that the restoration was not done correctly, that it left us with a mistaken impression of what Michaelangelo meant us to see. How many now remember the arguments of those experts, and does the average person visiting the Sistine really care about the controversy?

    Yes I know that many here at PrayTell would have some issues (to put it mildly) with my comparison; I’ve read most of the posts of the past year. But please hear the main thrust of my argument: to talk liturgy in terms of power rather than beauty and transcendence will do more to bring about the very debacle Brigid seems most concerned about: division and schism.

    Those who argue as Brigid does have the burden of proving they don’t want a schism. I’m not saying “shut up and get on board” because I think some criticism of both process and product is valid, but try to avoid appearing to put everything in terms of power.

  18. . . . pious gibberish . . . ??? oh my.

    When I recently discovered this website as a neophyte, I had high hopes to learn, and perhaps, if I gained enough courage, to enter into the “fray” with “the experts” and engage in a constructive dialogue about liturgy and the future of the Church.

    Sadly, that is not likely to happen here.

    1. Tom Diebold,

      If you’re willing of spirit and up for it, and ready to make a few distinctions intellectually, I bet you could learn much here, and also make a contribution. Concrete example: strike the phrase “pious gibberish” which you find offensive, and respond to everything else in the letter.

      If, on the other hand, you use that offensive (for you) phrase to dismiss the entire letter, then I suspect you won’t learn much or contribute much here.


      1. It’s not unusual for people to judge a message based in part by what the messenger thinks of other things.

        If one has even remotely traditional leanings, then it gets very difficult to get behind the “anti-translation” bandwagon because of all the other baggage you have to accept or put up with.

  19. t gets very difficult to get behind the “anti-translation” bandwagon because of all the other baggage you have to accept or put up with.

    Jack- That’s how I feel about the Traditionalist-liturgy people. But I manage to separate “I like chant and latin” from “Women are unfit for the priesthood, men=people, gays are disordered, Benedict is the the greatest pope since sliced bread, and David Haas is an evil evil man” and all the other things that bother me about that crowd.

    Perhaps you could manage to separate “this transition will be difficult” from “Latin is a bunch of nonsense and we like to strum guitars while we dance around the altar” or whatever you think the “anti-translation crowd” does/thinks/believes/supports.

    You don’t have to give up your ideals/positions in one thing just to agree with someone about something else.

    1. I do manage to do what you suggest, but many people do not – I was simply noting that if one really wants to unite people, then don’t go pushing away people who might have a sympathetic ear when you really do not have to. Is the new translation opposed by folks here because it is a bad translation, or is it opposed because of some kind of Vatican II shibboleth (like fearing “restored altar railings” and “Latin” most definitely are)? If you oppose it because it is inferior, then just say so, don’t smear others or be condescending like Brigid Rauch was.

      Traditionalists have their problems as well, but pointing fingers and saying “he does it too” isn’t particularly helpful.

  20. the introduction of the new translation is going to cause yet another fault line in the Church.

    Yes it will. This new fault line will both heal and succeed the old fault line of the 1970s. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

  21. Many good comments here, despite the original statement by Brigid being heavily agenda driven:

    …feedback from outside the liturgist community

    …seem to be making a good faith effort to bite the bullet and put a good face on things

    …a feeling that they have capitulated too soon

    …For most people, the switch from Latin to the vernacular was a switch from pious gibberish

    …the new translation will be seen as a distortion of the Good News meant to prop up the power of the clergy

    …some additional early warning of the oncoming disaster might help some people prepare

    I’m sorry, but this isn’t even vieled enough to call it “transparent”! There is an underlying assumption by Brigid that

    a) everyone is opposed to the new translation

    b) any support for the effort is forced and unwilling, done out of fear of retribution

    c) Opposition to the effort is, and should be the normative position.

    I would suggest that none of these are true

    1. What makes you think that this is any more “agenda driven” than your own remarks?

      The expression “agenda driven” seems to be an easy bit of mud to sling, but I’ve noticed that the people who use it always seem to be oblivious that they are promoting their own agenda with regard to: more literal translations, getting rid of the developments of the last forty years, promoting the use of Latin and the spread of the EF, disparaging the work of the Consilium, deeming certain theologians heretics, disparaging women and lay leadership, and all the rest. Agenda-driven from A to Z.

      But all these things (their agenda) seem to them to be TIMELESS TRUTHS or THE CHURCH’S TRADITION or GOD’S WILL, whereas anyone who disagrees with them is “agenda driven.”

      Here Brigid comes along with a concern about unity in the parish, and you say she’s “agenda driven.” Well, if church unity is an agenda, perhaps we should all be so agenda driven!

      1. Rita;

        Did I say that my view was neutral or something? My point was that Bridgid has cited only assumptions, not facts, in order to back up her point. There is no evidence to suggest that “most”, or even “a lot” of parishioners will react the way she assumes they will. I still foresee that most will be unaware or indifferent.

  22. I’ve read over the comments, and have some general responses.

    First, we need to stop insisting that **MY** way is the best and only way. Of course, there will be disagreement even with that statement, since many believe there should be only one Mass, and anything else is both inferior and a sign of disobedience!

    Second, regardless of whether you like the new translation or not, my point was that I believe the introduction will cause a lot of anger. For many, it will be the last straw on the camel’s back. I have no idea how to avoid this.

    Third, I would ask some of those here to search their consciences and ask themselves whether they object to increased participation by the laity, or increased participation by women.

    Fourth, and most important, we need to offer a prayer for all the priests and music ministers who will have to introduce these changes!

  23. My response to your responses:
    1. Didn’t see much evidence in the comments here of the attitude of ‘MY way or the highway’. Don’t know to whom that was directed, unless you are making assumptions not warranted by what people wrote.

    2. I am one who gets angry often enough and with enough ridiculous passion that I have learned not to take my anger too seriously. I tend to take other people’s anger way more seriously to the point of being afraid of their anger. Yet I hope and pray that everyone with a heart for God will see some things they like among the other things they don’t like in the new translation. In the spectrum of thing to be mad at the Church leadership about, the new translation would affect most those most involved in liturgy, which is not most people. I think a few will leave very publicly and make a big fuss on the way out hoping to bring with them as many as they can, but their beefs are probably chiefly about other things, and that will be apparent to most if not all.

    3. As a church musician for many years, I love participation, by everybody, especially musically. But over the years I have noticed that my outward participation matters little unless my heart is right with God. The new translation may help some get their hearts where God wants them, while it may make it harder for others, that is the nature of translation and liturgy in my (limited) experience. But surely the translation is not the most important factor for a good inner life. My own opinion is that this particular translation may disturb some at first, but most will be able to resolve it in a good way. I hope only a few act petulantly because they didn’t get their way and will see in time that they can live with it.

    4. Prayer is always a good idea. Thanks for suggesting it. I’m off to the chapel here at work to do what you suggest.

  24. I appreciate Rita’s most recent post, trying to again raise what I believe is the prominent theme in Brigid’s concern… and one that is really not being talked about too much here and in previous threads… that the reaction of the people in the pews is going to be all over the map… there will be folks who love these new changes, and a whole bunch (in my opinion) who are going to rise up in confusion and anger. And we will have everything in between. How do folks like Brigid and so many of us going to be able to minister in our communities with this? Regardless of who is more “agenda-driven” than the other – this misses the point.

    If there are folks here who really believe that this new translation is going to be received by everyone in our parishes with 100% acceptance and affirmation, I really think we are naive at best, and clueless. I am sure most here would agree with me. The pastoral concerns are not about going back and forth about whether “God of hosts” is better or more accurate than “God of power and might.” People already (and it will only rise up more) are asking more fundamental questions and statements: “why is this happening at all?” “What was wrong with the words we have now?” “This is just another power play by the institutional church?”

    We may not like these questions. We may think they are the wrong questions. We may sit back and criticize these concerns or believe that they are misguided. But, if we really care about our people, we dare not ignore them, and we better hang on for an interesting ride. These are the things that I believe Brigid is trying to get us to talk about.

      1. This “answer” assumes so much ignorance (and/or gullability) that it’s breathtaking. It makes it sound as if the new translation was needed because of additional canonized saints. We needed a new translation because we had a new edition. Simple! And Liturgiam Authenticam was sent to help. Isn’t that nice?

    1. David (et al.),

      Back in August I predicted the following, and I still think I’m right:

      Overall, 10 percent will get the point that the boys in Rome are trying to make. They will be more than pleased.

      10-15 percent will not notice anything has changed, except for “And with your spirit”.

      The 5 percent who appreciate well-spoken English will be aghast and will wonder out loud what happened. 1/5 of this group — 1 percent of the total — will discover that nothing that they can argue or demonstrate will change a thing.

      The .00001 percent who have been following and commenting on discussion groups will look for evidence to prove their point of view to be correct – and ignore all the counterfactuals. They will then loudly proclaim their rightness, here and elsewhere.

      The remainder — a majority — will shrug and go along, just because it’s not worth the trouble.

      1. And those who hope or expect that the last group will somehow get its theology “corrected” through the new translation are only kidding themselves.

      2. Then there are 85% of people who always attend a Mass that
        can be said in 25 minutes or less, and would never
        dream of attending a liturgy longer than that. For them, it won’t matter. They’re there for “a valid Mass”,
        to watch “transubstantiation” occur, and
        straight away to the golf course.

      3. RP Burke;

        Your final assessment here…”The remainder — a majority — will shrug and go along, just because it’s not worth the trouble.” seems to assume that this majority objects but won’t bother speaking up. I would contend that they will be largely indifferent and so won’t speak up because there is nothing to “speak up” about!

  25. Progress report:
    1st grade- can sing first two phrases unassisted by adult.

    4/5/6/7- can sing entire hymn (Glory to God) a capella, started sight-singing it by seventh (of 13) staff.

    My wife had schola chant through it with ease and precisioned nuance.

    Thus far, no resistence, though that hardly counts as a barometer for a mega parish of 9000+ families.

    I want increased participation by the laity. that’s why I’m teaching this now. I don’t know, Brigid, what exactly is meant by “Increased participation by women.” But a clear majority of lectors, young servers and EMHC’s are female, and will remain in service to the liturgies at our parishes for the foreseeable future.

    And I very much appreciate prayers for all of us who have leadership responsibilities that assist the Faithful in their worship of God. In Him we move and have our being. We will always move forward in His Name.

    1. I’m glad things are going well for you, but fear that some of the 9000+ families will walk away when the new translation comes down.

      Your observation is that a “a clear majority of lectors, young servers and EMHC’s are female”. (Thank you for your support, by the way!) My observation is that many of them are female. The tone of some of the comments I’ve seen to this posting and others suggests to me that the objection to lay participation is really an objection to female lay participation. Come to think of it, doesn’t the new translation eliminate a lot of inclusive language?

  26. My parish worships in a rented wedding chapel. There was talk recently about the chapel getting a better instrument (than the Hammond). Having a vested interest in this, I wrote to the owners explaining what I thought would be the best, most economical option, and why is was the best thing for their own needs as well as ours. When the Senior Warden relayed their (not favorable) final decision, I found myself arguing with him about it. After a second I said, “I’m sorry- I don’t know why I’m arguing with you.”

    Whenever anyone brings up the thoughts/desires/confusions/concerns of “the people in the pews” over the new translation, it’s defenders argue with the person who brought it up- explaining why it’s better than the old, dismissing the concerns over Roman power plays, etc. I gotta say NOT HELPFUL. Like me, you’re arguing with the wrong person.

    Personally, I think the new translation is, on the whole, better. I’m willing to put up with “under my roof” in exchange for “God of Hosts.” I’m willing to be only slightly annoyed by “consubstantial” in order to get the so much better collects. Some people are ecstatic about the new translation, others not so much. Some are angry over the process, others not so much.

    But the regular people- the people who have had to put up with questions from the Protestants friends about the sexual abuse scandal, the people who are starting to see their favorite music taken away from them, the people who have suffered too many “opportunities for catechesis” – many of these people will be confused. Many will see this as a Roman power play, whether it is or isn’t. Many will see this as a repudiation of V2, whether it is or isn’t. Many will see this is another imposition from a sexist, imperialist, out-of-touch hierarchy, whether that’s true or not.
    And yes, some will love it. And others (most?) won’t even notice.

    But you don’t have to hate it to understand that there will be problems. Serious problems.

    1. Adam, I really like your provocative and wise comments. On one point, fwiw, I hold a different judgment. I think the collects in the new translation are mostly pretty awful, the weakest part of the whole thing. The syntax is absurdly unworkable in English.

      1. I can only take your word for the vast majority of the ones you’ve seen that I haven’t. But my favorable opinion on the new collects has come from Fr. Z. While I find much of what he has to say rather distasteful (and his readership mostly vile), I’ve appreciated his side-by-side comparison of collects (and other texts) from the original, the current, the proposed, and the new. I totally agree that some of the prose has been wanting, but even with my haven’t-studied-in-ten-years highschool Latin, I don’t need the good Father’s obnoxious commentary to see that the new ones (of the subset I’ve seen… admittedly small) have been a more faithful rendering of meaning.

        In any event, I hardly think prayers spoken alone by the priest will be the focus or the concern of any of the “people in the pews” who get upset about all this. With possible exception of “chalice” instead of “cup,” the “people” will likely only notice the stuff they have to say.

      2. Adam, good point. whether or not the collects are weak, most people won’t pay attention to them. I noticed that back when Fr. Z was allowing people to vote on 2008 and 2010, the former won every time. The comments at WDTPRS showed strong preference for them, and pretty strong critique of 2010, which is what we’re getting. I agree with you that the collects (2008 or 2010) are much more faithful to the Latin. But I don’t they’re good English or a good approach for proclamation. 1997 did that much better, and I wish that would have been the basis for revisions. Maybe we’ll end up with something like that within about 10 years – that’s what I’m praying for.

  27. Adam, that comment was probably best left unsaid. I read Fr Z’s blog frequently and comment occasionally and I consider your take on his readership quite unfair. Like here, there’s an occasionally unfortunate comment, but those are fellow Catholics and, from my observation, pretty good people who are willing to pray for our Church and their fellow travelers. Fr Z can sometimes get a little excited, but for the most part I think his posts are worth the read.

  28. While I guess I agree with Adam and Anthony that the collects may have little or no impact on the praying congregation, I could not disagree more with RP, Karl Liam, and Dunstan regarding the “majority” of the people, that they will just “go along.” I think this comes close (while not intended) as being a tad insulting to the people who come to Mass Sunday after Sunday. They are more attentive than we give them credit – I believe that for them, words that are prayed by the priest are important, and they will hang on to and react to what is being said by the presider. I disagree in the way Adam refers to they only caring about the stuff “they have to say.” This is far more than what “they have to say,” because this is the language of their prayer, their belief. The words we put into their mouths to “say,” or “sing” resonates (or not) with one’s belief and faith in the liturgical event.

    And even if it is only a minority, not the “majority” as some of said here (which I totally disagree with), should we not be concerned for them? Or are we so “American” in our mindset, that we should only be concerned about what the “majority” are concerned with?

    Maybe “consubstantial” and other phrases may only, like for Adam, annoy some people. Maybe it will not make them angry – but it may just push them farther and farther away from engagement in the liturgy. And in some ways, that is far more dangerous.

    Obviously no one here, and certainly not me, has any corner as to how all of this is going to be received exactly by the “Body of Christ.” But the rumblings that I am seeing from the already mentioned gatherings that I have been a part of, give me the impression that this is going to be anything than smooth sailing.

      1. RPB,

        I think David may be more right than you recognize. I can only speak for myself, of course, but I do try to pay attention to and parse what I can hear the priest say. In most cases, he is praying on behalf of all of us, so it only makes sense to at least try to listen. It helps me stay awake, too. But, if I’m going to be constantly exposed to awkward, stilted, ugly, or nonsensical words, I am very likely to be turned off by the lousy language, and start tuning out. Then I’ll probably be irritated at being subjected to such stuff, and it’s not too long a distance from there to wanting it just to be over so I can do something else.

        Surely I don’t need to explicitly carry the logic any further. Even if people refrain from complaining to their pastors, if they lose their sense of engagement, it probably won’t be long before they lose their sense of obligation or desire to attend.

  29. To only intellectualize all of this, is what Brigid is trying to shake up – these are real concerns that need to be talked about. What is our pastoral response going to be?

    At some point this needs to move more beyond US, and our professional discussions and particular opinions of what we like about this or that aspect of the translation, arguing about EF and OF, and even over the process and how it was bungled, or about Vox Clara, or Moroney, or whomever. While these topics are important (to a point), the people whom we serve are not aware of, nor do most of them care about a good amount of these things. What about our people, who should be the center of our concern? What about their angst? What about the fact that for many of them, they are hanging on to the church by their fingernails, and something like this could push them over the cliff? And it should not matter if they are the majority or a small minority – this is serious.

    Don’t get me wrong, I find much of the discussions here stimulating and important, but I am concerned that not enough discussion is centering on the issues that Brigid is raising.

  30. I would never suggest (on purpose) that laity do not pay attention or notice the priestly prayers, or are not affected by them. Only that changes to the same will not be noticed. I don’t know many lay Catholics who have memorized the Proper prefaces and collects, or even the entire text of the small number of Eucharistic Prayers. Hence, I don’t think “the people” will be widely aware of those changes.

    As to my comment re: Fr. Z and his readership… Well, I’m sometimes a reader there, so clearly I don’t think ill of everyone who frequents his blog. However, I had to unsubscribe from it after I was made physically ill by the disgusting outpouring of ignorance and sexism that flowed page after page on a post related to female altar servers. I disagree with, but can live with and love, people who think women should not be ordained. I can barely stomach people who think it’s cute to call female altar servers “serviettes.” (I had to contain my rage at a CMAA event recently when, upon seeing the altar server lineup, the fellow-chanter sitting next to me muttered that word under his breathe. The opinion is sexist. The particular epithet borders on vulgar.)

    1. I stopped after Fr. Z’s incessant harping that wearing just the alb for Mass,without the chasuable,was the equivalent to a priest wearing his underwear in public. Of course, the
      cappa magna is just ducky.

      Something is very wrong with that picture.

  31. It’s a measure of the magnitude of the failure of this project that the best thing we can think of to say about the collects is that people won’t listen to them.

  32. The strong defenders might suggest that this:

    the best thing we can think of to say about the collects is that people won’t listen to them.

    is our own failing, not the failing of the translation.

    In any event, even with caveats about them not being as good as they could be, there are plenty of people (Fr. Z, for one; Jeffrey Tucker for another… I might even include myself) who can think of better things to say about them than that people won’t listen to them. Here’s one: they are more accurate than the current ones. (That does count for SOMETHING, right?)

    1. Thanks, Adam, for this note of optimism. The sadness I feel comes from remembering a time when we hoped for better, for a translation that would actually reward the listening ear, be more beautiful and more compelling, and make it easier for the faithful to imbibe its meaning. I remember talking with Bruce Harbert about the potential of this project and encouraging him, because good words wear well. They become engraved in the memory. That was before I realized we would not receive any such English.

      The journey of faith is hard enough without putting obstacles in people’s way, making it harder. I feel as though we asked for bread and were given a stone.

      For the record, I was all for closer renderings of the Latin until I saw what kind of English this regime was producing. And I read Latin! I love Latin! I pray in Latin. Stilted clumsy non-idiomatic English does no honor to Latin. In fact, I suspect that this translation will make people who were indifferent hate Latin, and there’s another loss. Don’t dismiss this possibility. It’s real. Any time people feel put upon and irritated, they focus on something as the culprit. It will be Latin, as much as it will be the faceless bureaucrats or the local bishop, because all they will hear is “it’s closer to the Latin.” I already get such responses.

      1. I agree that many will have those feelings, and so I can’t blame you or anyone else for having them. But optimism is important. There are things about the new translation that are better than the old, some that are worse, and some that are just different. We should be prepared for how people are going to fixate on the bad, and what consequences that might have. But we ourselves (in our role as ministers, instead of as those who are ministered to) should do our best to focus on what is better, and trust that the Holy Spirit will work things out.

  33. Well, yes, there are “those” people. Keep in mind that they have suffered in some way and have hardened their hearts to a degree. Let’s hope they are able to see what Christ is teaching us through the liturgy. I’m not a fan of female altar servers as an idea, but I love them for wanting to serve. We all have to keep our perspective while espousing our ideas, to be sure. BTW I sometimes get a little queasy hear when I read certain comments about things that I feel are important.

  34. Nov 27 is only 10 months away! It is rather scary that no one know what will really happen when the new translation is foisted on the people and their clergy.

    “Stilted clumsy non-idiomatic English does no honor to Latin. In fact, I suspect that this translation will make people who were indifferent hate Latin, and there’s another loss.”

    The tin ear of the 7000 “experts” who produced this mess is a sad comment on the state of Catholic culture. The few who gave wise judgments of taste, such as Bp Trautman, were ridiculed or sacked by the Philistines. A conspiration of mediocrities is dragging the Church’s liturgy in the mud, insulting both the Latin and the English tongues in the process.

    1. Joe,

      “A conspiration [sic] of mediocrities is dragging the Church’s liturgy in the mud, insulting both the Latin and the English tongues in the process.”

      I’m not sure you went far enough – in that I’m not convinced that this mess insults not just the language, but the People of God and, just maybe, God himself. OK, perhaps I’m out on a theological limb with that last, but sure as sunrise I feel insulted by the language I’m going to be told to use for prayer.

    2. +JMJ+

      Do you really think all 7,000 people involved produced the 2010 text? It appears more that a select few of those 7,000 modified the work of the whole (from 2008) and produced the 2010.

  35. Adam, I’ve attended three colloquia and two Chant Intensives in the last five years, and have yet to hear a disparaging remark of any magnitude by any fellow CMAA member in attendance towards persons or practices that are common fodder for rutting here in St. Blogs. I’m not doubting the veracity of your experience or recollection. But in my experience, there has never been any wasteable time to couch that which is negative or invective insults in a CMAA event schedule. The effort of the organziation is to prepare catholic (and even Lutherans/Anglicans) towards postive and coherent worship practice via dsiciplined study of the ars celebrandi that culminates daily/weekly with actual liturgies. There really is little time or interest in “bad mouthing” that I’ve personally encountered at CMAA gatherings. I know we cannot testify to that sort of charity in blogdom, but face to face? Not in my experience. I would rather we not typfify either NPM, CMAA or any other “guild” by misassociating the group with an errant person you encounter at one of their sponsored meetings.

    1. My affection for the CMAA and its folk is perhaps not as well known here as it is among the readership of my own site or at the CMAA sponsored Musica Sacra forums. So- I should definitely amend/extend my statement as follows:
      1. I love the CMAA, and it’s folk (even the ones I disagree with)
      2. The comment I referenced is not typical of my experience with CMAA
      3. The commenter was not affiliated with the CMAA in any official capacity.

  36. I resent one more attempt of the hierarchy in bolstering the hierarchical patriarchal model of developing prayers and rubric. I wonder if the Cardinals and Bishops have ever really studied the Acts of the Apostles.

    I for one will continue to pray using the inclusive gender-neutral liturgical prayers i have shared with others in my parish community since i returned to the Church nearly 19 years ago after a 20 year absence.

    1. Hello Penelope!

      I think the core feelings behind your frank expression are probably shared by 99% of the resisters to the new translation.

      1% are mad because of actual mistakes. The rest are put out that the new translation might not harmonize well with GIA’s ‘Sister God’ anymore.

      Thank you for being honest.

      1. I would be fascinated to know the basis of your projected statistics.

        Also, are “resisters” the same as “critics”? I have been critical of the forthcoming translation, but I have every intention of doing my part to implement it.

      2. Mr. Andrews –

        May I refer you to Genesis 1:27?

        “God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.”

        The Bible, although divinely inspired, was written by humans, and in general, written by men in a patriarchal society. Even at that, there is the frequent image of God as a nursing mother. Why are you so opposed to prayers that remind us that God encompasses both male and female?

      3. You’d love it for that to be true George wouldn’t you? All of the scholarly research and analysis and comparisons posted on this blog over the last few months were all by people secretly in love with GIA’s Sister God. How’s that water in De Nile for swimming George?

    2. You should try the original Latin. It is less sexist than the English. Only English pretends that “man” = “people.” Latin is clear. Homo, Hominibus = person, people of any gender. Vir, Virii = males specifically.

    3. Penelope, I think there are ways to fight sexism in the Church that do not involve resisting updates of the liturgy. For example, your parish could decide to change its patron saint from a man to a woman saint (if its current patron is male). Surely it’s possible to invent ways to balance the arrival of less-inclusive language with a move towards an increased welcome of women, while avoiding frontal conflict.

      Personally I will not directly disobey directives, stupid though they may be, unless I concretely see a person getting actively hurt by the decision (and then it’s a no-brainer). I do not find non-inclusive language to rise to the level of harm that justifies outright rejection. Non-inclusive language is part of a general sexist outlook on humanity, but if that was the only thing that was sexist, we wouldn’t really care, would we? Since they’re stuck on that point, let’s move to another front.

  37. Hello Deacon Fritz,

    (I really need to know how to address a Deacon — When I say ‘Deacon so-and-so’ I feel like I’m talking to some pot-bellied character out of a Ray Steven’s video! Is there a better way?)

    Doesn’t Penelope’s call for a gender-neutral liturgy stir a chord in your heart of hearts?

    Did I say 1% are mad because of actual mistakes? I meant to say 2%!

    1. If by “gender neutral” you mean phrases like “God in Godself,” then the only chord it stirred was a sad, minor one to accompany the death scene of the English language. If by “gender neutral” you mean finding a way in English to register the distinction Latin makes between vir and homo, then, yes, I am all in favor of that (in the name of greater fidelity to the Latin, of course).

      As to titles, I have learned to live with “Deacon Fritz,” despite the Ray Stevens associations, because that is what my bishop expects me to be called. You know, the oath of obedience and all that.

      1. Thanks for the tip, Deacon!

        Maybe I should have said 3%! But speaking of vir and homo, when did ‘good will towards men’ suddenly start to mean only those who go into a ‘men’s’ room? I think: never until the gender police started saying it did.

        The word ‘men’ has an inclusive meaning depending upon context. Does that cease now because some have their feelings hurt?

      2. Well, in light of last week’s reading from Isaiah, I would say that if we can accommodate bruised reeds and smoldering wicks without compromising the faith then we should do so.

  38. Mr. Andrews,

    It’s not entirely a matter of some people [specifically, women] having their feelings hurt. The word ‘men’ as inclusive has lost some favor because it came from a view of the male as normative and the female as a lesser being. In many places this is _still_ true, sadly. Even in the most ‘progressive’ places in the world the shift is a fairly recent phenomenon. Only in the late 19th Century did women start getting the right to vote, for example. As late as the 1960s there were still states whose laws treated a woman as her husband’s property.

    The change in language comes from a desire to explicitly include both male and female as equals. Hasn’t it been said often around here that words matter? The words matter because the words we let ourselves to use affect the way we think. Sometimes we have to make a conscious effort – when I worked with Civil Air Patrol cadets, I forced myself, even in thinking silently about them, to use the word ‘cadet’ and not ‘kid’ or something similar. It made a difference.

    George Andrews :

    Thanks for the tip, Deacon!
    Maybe I should have said 3%! But speaking of vir and homo, when did ‘good will towards men’ suddenly start to mean only those who go into a ‘men’s’ room? I think: never until the gender police started saying it did.
    The word ‘men’ has an inclusive meaning depending upon context. Does that cease now because some have their feelings hurt?

    1. Dear Lynn,

      It seems like youre agreeing with me. ‘Good will towards men’ was never understood by anyone as only ‘toward’s male adults’. The need to change it comes from pure speculation about word etymology, and anger.

      But changing it surrenders to the former idea. Men always = male adults. As if to say ‘earlier generations of English speakers thought the angels’ message was for ‘adult males only’, but now, we Jack Horner progressives that we are, include women as well.’

      That paints a false picture of the past. It’s just not true.

      1. Dear George,

        No, I am not agreeing with you. Perhaps I was not sufficiently clear: I think we need to minimize gender-specific language, most especially when referring to humankind in general. References to specific individuals should use pronouns appropriate to the sex of the individual. To continue with what one person [a Catholic high school student at the time] referred to as the ‘male preferred’ custom of general references perpetuates, or at least supports, a mindset that we will do well to root out.

        Actually, calling the custom ‘male preferred’ says quite a bit about it.

  39. What matters about language is what it communicates. To contemporary ears, “men” as gender neutral communicates sexism and exclusionism. That matters.
    And it isn’t a false or speculative etymology, by the way. Male as normative, with female as a deviation from that norm, is the root philosophical view that allows man=person and man=male to exist simultaneously. And that’s a view that still largely exists. This stuff isn’t made up by liberal conspirators.

    1. — Male as normative, with female as a deviation from that norm, is the root philosophical view that allows man=person and man=male to exist simultaneously. And that’s a view that still largely exists. This stuff isn’t made up by liberal conspirators.–

      Adam, how is telling me how a language was formed not speculative? Diane Ravitch has an article posted where she says the opposite of what you say..i.e. feminine endings/prefixes are a an exceptional sign of regard. E.G. where you might say Michael Jordan is a deviant athlete, another might say he is an exceptional athlete. At any rate he is not the norm. You can take it in a pejorative way if you wish.
      She also points out that gender-neutral languages do exist, e.g. Persian. But the cultures of those languages have not historically done any better with women’s lib than we have.

  40. Re inclusive language: the shift in usage is not complete or stable – it’s something that is still being worked out. If and when the usage stabilizes to make inclusive usage as described here the norm, the translations would then eventually need to reflect it.

  41. Their is quiet resentment and even heated disagreement by a whole host of folks (dare I say men?) who think that the attempt to change English usage in regard to “man” and “men” is not driven from the bottom up, but is rather an imposition from above by those whose political/philosophical agenda is tainted by undue political correctness and radical feminism. In far too many cases the underlying beliefs of these agitators is sometimes opposed to not only orthodox Christian anthropology, but also centuries of historical usage of the English language. That the new elite language makers are found in academia in the liberal arts distresses me. That they are found in some theology faculties worries me. That so many worship at the altar of inclusivity while excluding those who disagree maddens me. Instead of reveling in the great English linguistic tradition much of it is now read by these same elite with preconceived lenses without due respect for the very genre of the literature in question. I think the other problem is a serious disrespect for the very nature of the tradition of the English language. It is an honor to pass on the work of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Donne, Chesterton and a whole host of others to contemporary readers. To use words in the same way they did perverts none. It has always bothered me that in order to make so called exclusive language inclusive requires knowledge of the already inclusive meaning of some of these words in question. In other words how do the English word police of today even find words to alter unless the words themselves already connoted an inclusive meaning? The word police of today do damage to the language by seeking to limit her varied meanings. They likewise do damage to the identity of many places. The “City of Brotherly Love” becomes what, “The City of Peacemakers?” Does a ship become an “it”? Must Holy Mother Church become only Church? Holy won’t work, because it excludes the unholy? Mother won’t work because it excludes those who can’t relate to motherhood. Since the very idea of Church is also exclusive I guess it will just have to be We are __________. I pray that our mistress the Pray Tell blog will forgive my satiric rant.

    Perhaps those who feel alienation on account of so-called inclusive language zealots can share feelings with those alienated men who feel the new translation for the Roman Missal is a similar imposition by another elite and powerful group of out of touch patriarchal abusers. For humour’s sake please give me a rating on the vitriol scale! 10 being vitriol to the max and 1 being benign vitriol.

  42. In terms of gender oriented inclusive issues – we as men have NO idea what it is like for women. Regardless of intent, we have no right in my mind, to criticize women for being offended or locked out by masculine imagery – we do not walk in their shoes, we cannot ever begin to understand what it is like. Intentions in this regard, mean nothing – it does not mean that we can find a solution to every single word or image that may offend us.. but we darn well better be somewhat sensitive to it.

  43. A woman is nobody’s “son.” A woman is nobody’s “brother.” A woman is not a “man.” A woman is not a “he.” Pluralizing those words does not magically include a woman in them. Abstracting them does not include a single woman. The fact that (possibly) previous generations assumed that it did does not mean that it does so now.
    And I would contend that previous generations did not necessarily intend to include women with those terms: we have the feeding of the 5000 (not including women and children), we have all men are created equal (which clearly excluded women as well as non-white males), we have a priesthood reserved for men (maybe they meant it inclusively, and we’ve all been confused!).
    For thousands of years, in almost every culture, men have been the standard for the concept of humanity, and women have been a subset, a deviation from the norm. This is not just a linguistic issue, but also a fairly obvious sociological one.
    If you are of the philosophical/theological belief that that is okay, then go ahead and keep using “man” for “person.” At least you’ll be consistent. (And, not incidentally, fairly conforming to official Church doctrine). But don’t pretend that you can be inclusive of women while retaining the language of a decidedly exclusive time period.

  44. Per Mr. Wood: “……The fact that (possibly) previous generations assumed that it did does not mean that it does so now.
    And I would contend that previous generations did not necessarily intend to include women with those terms: we have the feeding of the 5000 (not including women and children), we have all men are created equal (which clearly excluded women as well as non-white males), we have a priesthood reserved for men (maybe they meant it inclusively, and we’ve all been confused!).”

    Find it interesting that many editorials about the Tucson events have focused on those who defended or justified their “irresponsible” and aggressive language by using the historical fact that politics in the 18th and 19th centuries were also aggressive.

    Calmer heads who have written and spoken have managed to appeal to the larger population by stating that as a people we need to move beyond the patterns of history and not be held captive in order to build the common good.

    Agree completely with David Haas’s sentiments. Can live with Deacon Fritz’s vir = man; homo = people. At least 1998 tried for a both/and approach in terms of inclusive language.

  45. As someone who serves in a church that admits both men and women into the ordained ministry, this inclusive language conversation would be a non-starter. It’s hard for me to see the resistance to inclusive language as anything but a power play. I’m not talking about about the naming of God, but simply respecting that the equality of women in contempory society requires a change in language. I would also point out that the church is not the only institution that has to wrestle with this. My father and grandfather were proud firemen. My brother-in-law is a proud firefighter.

      1. Sam,

        I think the issue is largely settled, but the transition is clearly not yet complete.

  46. “1997 did that much better, and I wish that would have been the basis for revisions.”

    Fr. Anthony, There are loads of priests who agree with you and they’re prepared to substitute the collects from 1997 and other editions for the 2010 material.

      1. +JMJ+

        Dunstan, the question has been raised by multiple contributors here multiple times: if our priests are allowed to use whatever version/translation/edition of the orations they wish (even creating their own, whether based on the Roman ones or not), are the laity allowed to do the same in making their responses, and throughout the liturgy?

  47. Brigid Rauch: For most people, the switch from Latin to the vernacular was a switch from pious gibberish (sorry – most people did not and do not understand Latin!) to a clear proclamation of the Good News.

    Brigid, I and a few others here have devoted their lives to learning and teaching the Latin language. To call the Latin language liturgical tradition “gibberish” is demonstrative of the contemporary opinion that great works of civilizations pale against the feeble accomplishments of a few generations. The first Pentecost easily predates 1965. For centuries the Church has prayed profoundly and sang sonorously in this “dead” language. You have dismissed this changing and living heritage in a sentence.

    The EF community has many systemic prejudices which I have discussed before. There is often little charity and humanity there. I often see little charity among proponents of the OF as well. Where then is charity if we pretend to offer our sacrifices while lobbing verbal blows at one another?

    “Leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” Mt. 5:24 NRSV. This is the reality which I must strive for with or without the initiative of others.

    1. Jordan,

      To someone who doesn’t have a good grounding in ecclesiastical Latin, it’s gibberish. Just as German, Magyar [Hungarian to us], Hangul [Korean], and Etruscan would all be gibberish to a non-speaker of those languages.

      I never got the impression that Brigid intended to cast aspersions on Latin as a language, nor suggest that “great works of civilizations pale against the feeble accomplishments of a few generations” or something analogous to that. Her point would be the same no matter what language was used, if it wasn’t spoken by the pew potatoes.

      By the same token, to hold up Latin as inherently better for prayer is idolatry, and there is a commandment about that, if I recall correctly. It’s just there, that language. Some Latin is beautiful, some Church texts are undoubtedly really ugly in Latin. I don’t know the language, but there’s enough material to make a statistical certainty that some of it’s ugly.

      I have one last question: Someone on this blog, within the last few months, advanced the idea that Latin is especially well-suited to be the official language of the Church precisely because it is dead, and so the meaning of its words doesn’t change. Yet you refer to the changing and living heritage. What did you mean there?

      1. I strongly disagree with idolatry of Latin or the Extraordinary Form. The EF has not evolved alongside the post-conciliar church. The EF does not reflect our current beliefs on Judaism and other faiths and neglects the intrinsic bond between the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. The sanctoral cycle of the EF is remarkably out of step. The use of the new vernacular lectionary at the EF would better follow the prescriptions of Sacrosanctum Concilium. There was no Pontifical Mass in the Upper Room.

        The almost total replacement of Latin with the vernacular after the Council greatly damaged a sacramental link that still stretches from the 4th century CE to our day. Shouldn’t we mourn the effective death of our sacral language? Shouldn’t we soberly evaluate both the sublimity and violence of our liturgical heritage before scrapping centuries of prayer? Is it wise to create liturgy in the likeness of three generations rather than fifteen centuries?

        We should not return to Latin exclusively. Still, blanket dismissals of Latin liturgy sledgehammer our often troubled but beautiful centuries of heritage. Who would clap and laugh if Chartres were plowed down to create France’s largest hypermarche? Even more so, why would someone tear down the Mass, more intricate than any cathedral?

      2. You offer much to think about in your post above. I honestly don’t know if we should ‘mourn the effective death of our sacral language’, I guess because I’m not necessarily convinced we should identify one particular language as THE sacral language. I don’t have any issue with a sober evaluation, though, of any radical changes.

        As to the wisdom of creating liturgy ‘in the likeness of three generations rather than fifteen centuries’, there’s certainly room for a variety of opinion. But, the pre-V2 liturgy wasn’t 15 centuries old. Parts of it were, but as a whole it dates from the 16th Century. More on point, it was assessed as not fitting the needs of the people of the 20th Century and for that reason was changed. That, I have no problem with. From the history I’ve read, it certainly appears that the ‘sober evaluation’ was taking place for years, if not decades, prior to the Council. There was a great deal of discussion going on in a lot of places, so it wasn’t a change that came out of the blue at the Council.

        I don’t object to Latin liturgy for those who like it, EF or OF. For myself, I’d rather not use it, save possibly as a grace note. There are some lovely Latin chants and other pieces that really can add something beautiful and prayerful to Mass. Of course, there are such things to be found in many languages, and I don’t favor the idea that Latin should always take first place.

        As to tearing down Chartres or the Mass, I suspect the former would be widely objectionable, even to folks who don’t see the Church in any good light. It has merit as beautiful architecture if nothing else. Depending on what you mean by ‘tearing down the Mass’, I’m not sure that’s what’s going on, or what went on at V2.

  48. Lynn–No, I am not agreeing with you. Perhaps I was not sufficiently clear: I think we need to minimize gender-specific language–


    Have you given consideration to the ‘inclusive-gender-neutral’ efforts being done throughout the world? If you could show me that this is a wide spread , ergo more catholic, movement — and not just an Americo-centric-fad — I would see this effort in a more positive light.

  49. I find the passion that some have for resisting inclusive language so fascinating… what is it that we are afraid of? For the life of me, I have never understood all of the rationalizations for keeping gender specific language in our prayer life.. to me, anything that brings more people around the table, the better… why is this so hard and so paralyzing for some? This “hanging on” to these old language patterns seems like a point of survival for some, I guess. It just seems so sad. I certainly agree that the language of the liturgy is not the language of the street, but come on, are we to be so detached from our real life situation? What harm is done by being sensitive to language and how it for many, keeps them locked out? Why would anyone in our Church see such a thing as positive? It is difficult not to see it as anything more than trying to keep women “in their place,” as a power play as someone earlier mentioned.

    1. I am a woman and I do not feel locked out by “Him.” I am offended when people neuter God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

    2. Just for starters, inclusive language is cumbersome, unattractive and works to reduce the English language (why don’t Episcopalians call female priests “priestesses” anyway). Inclusive language also politicizes the liturgy, violates established rules of grammar, and could be aptly described as “unproclaimable”.

      1. Anything “-ess” is also falling out of fashion. For example, ‘actor’ is now more unisex than not. Why does a word need to indicate the sex of the individual, anyway? Names often suggest the person’s sex, but if it’s relevant, one can be specific in a bunch of ways, including a bald statement that “Dr. So-and-So is [fe]male.”

        As to inclusive language being cumbersome, that’s sometimes true. We need a good, gender-neutral personal pronoun, certainly. Unattractive? I disagree. I generally find it very attractive to include as many people as possible. Works to reduce the English language? How, exactly? Seems to me it expands the language.

        Politicize? Huh? Using language that works to include everyone? In a church that claims to be universal? That’s what that ‘catholic’ word means, after all.

        Established rules of grammar – the preference for a male pronoun as a generic rule? Already discussed. Needs to change. Is changing.

        Unproclaimable? Only for the unimaginative. English has lots and lots of words, and when it finds itself lacking, borrows one or more. Maybe it’s time to go fishing.

    3. David,

      While we read active resistance here and elsewhere, the more dominant issue is that the shift in usage is still in process and still does not feel natural as a linguistic matter in a systematic way. Hence, you will find all sorts of people still employing non-inclusive usage – even in places where you’d not expect it, like NPR (and not rarely, btw). It’s not consistent.

      Right now, inclusive usage co-exists with the customary usage, in a crazy quilt.

      I write this as someone who spent many years in the trenches on behalf of inclusive liturgical language. It is important to keep the prescriptive and descriptive aspects of usage distinct. Vernacular translation will follow, rather than lead, usage – that is, it is a poor tool for prescriptive shifts in usage. This works out in a variety of ways. Part of our complaints here are in fact driven by the idea that Latinate translation is coming from a prescriptivist mindset about usage, rather than following idiomatic usage as a descriptive matter. Unfortunately, those of us who championed inclusive language as a prescriptive matter in the 1980s and 1990s may have unintentionally laid *part* of the foundation for this boomerang. Hence my concern that we carefully consider the unintended consequences of what we thing is good and right….

  50. On ugly Latin: how about “Fiat. fiat” instead of “Amen. Amen.” That is the ending of Psalm 40 (41) in both the old and new Vulgates. Jerome’s Latin translation from the Hebrew rather than the Greek kept it at “Amen. Amen.” The Greek had translated it into Greek which is probably why the Vulgate translated it into Latin. The Douay Rheims followed suit with “So be it. So be it.” How about that for ugly English! Somehow I like keeping the Hebrew no matter how one pronounces it.

    Many people appear to attribute far to much to ritual traditions, and even to languages (e.g. Latin) within those traditions. Remember the Byzantine tradition has major language variations within it (e.g. Slavonic and Greek). High values for liturgical traditions might have made sense when in most places there was only one ritual tradition, but today through the internet, recordings and migration we have great access to other ritual traditions (and some of us prefer to breath with both lungs, though I don’t like that phrase of JPII since it tends to reduce liturgy to Roman and Byzantine, or to all the Eastern versus all the Western).

    If one values all the beautiful things found in the Roman culture and the Latin language , then one should respect other people who equally value American culture and the English language and who want develop them in ways that are not totally dependent upon present liturgical traditions, Roman, Byzantine, etc. Granted that this takes time (like centuries) during which people familiar with such great traditions might be aghast! Be we were given the Holy Spirit! So everything is not up to bureucracies.

  51. As I said earlier, all I am calling for is sensitivity. Obviously not all women feel offended and hurt by the preponderance of masculine imagery.. but many do… and we cannot ignore that. Also, I realize that there are not easy answers in many cases as to how to deal with a specific image or word – there is no recipe, so to speak, that would work in every circumstance, and sometimes the change of word or phrase has caused more problems. I grant you that. But I would hope, that if we appreciate how words have power, and how in many cases words have caused “unnecessary” harm, we would try to operate from a lens of care. Words change in their meaning after time.. they evolve in how they are heard and understood. We may not like certain evolutions of language, but they do exist. We cannot just say, “well, that is their problem – they should know what the word is intended to mean,” or “well, historically it has always meant xx” then I believe we are not being pastoral. Again, it is mostly men here who are critical of attempts to be more inclusive, and I think we have to pause and honestly accept, that we are not “qualified” to speak about how many women have felt by a lack of sensitivity and the use of images that continually compound their plight in the church, being denied ordination. We men must face this – we can never know what it is like for many women in this church of ours. It seems to me, that while ordination is not a possibility for them (whether they seek it or not), we would do everything we can in other areas of church life (one of them being our common prayer together) to embrace, accept, and celebrate their presence. And a place to start, would be to do a CAREFUL exploration of our liturgical language to see how it brings everyone in (and this is not just in regards to women, but others who are marginalized) or not.

  52. To Jack Nolan (#130) – cumbersome for who? How is something simple, like a current adaptation, “peace to all people on earth” more cumbersome than “peace to his people on earth?” Or another current example in many communities: “for us and for our salvation” as opposed to “for us men and our salvation.” How are these adaptations more cumbersome? Now I know many will be quick to say that these adaptations are not in consonance with the Latin, or they will make other justifications and criticisms against making such an adaptation- but are they really more cumbersome?

    “Unattractive” – by whose standards’ ‘Reducing the English language” – again, by whose standards?

    I agree with Karl Liam that the answers are not simple – but should the concerns be cast aside? Again – so far from what I can read here, all of the criticisms about employing more inclusive language are coming from men.. my dear brothers, we are fundamentally unqualified to really speak about this from the standpoint of how many (not all, I will grant you) women feel totally cut-off and abandoned or marginalized by what they experience to be an insensitivity to their station in the church. We may not like it, agree with it, or find it credible – but can we at least minimally recognize honestly, that we do not walk in their shoes?

    1. David,

      Unless you are going to guarantee that men would never be subjected to inclusive language translations it would be unjust to exclude them from participating in the conversation on the subject. Lynn has already agreed that inclusive language is sometimes cumbersome and I would contend that if it is cumbersome it is probably unattractive as well. Unlike the new RM translation, inclusive language versions are both cumbersome and removed from our tradition of prayer.

      1. Jack,

        David’s point was that men are not equipped to talk about this from a particular [i.e. a woman’s] point of view. He never said they shouldn’t be excluded from the conversation.

        And I don’t think the fact that inclusive language can be cumbersome is an excuse to avoid it. I think we should live with the cumbersome until we figure out a gender-neutral set of pronouns.

        As for ‘removed from our tradition of prayer’, so what? Carry that one much further and you’re right back at women being nonentities, just as in the counting back in that story about the loaves and fishes. Sometimes traditions need changing or abandonment.

      2. For, when your children were scattered afar by sin, through the Blood of your Son and the power of the Spirit, you gathered them again to yourself, that a people, formed as one by the unity of the Trinity, made the body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit, might, to the praise of your manifold wisdom, be manifest as the Church.

        That 2010 text above is not cumbersome? Come on Jack. Compare it to the texts you don’t want to see or hear any more about, like 2008:

        For, when sin had scattered your children afar,
        you chosento gather them again to yourself
        through the Blood of your Son and the power of the Spirit,
        so that a people made one from the unity of the Trinity
        might be revealed as your Church,
        the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Spirit,
        to the praise of your manifold wisdom.

        No comparison!

      3. A correction to my post above, David never said that men SHOULD be excluded from the conversation.

  53. ‘How is something simple, like a current adaptation, ‘peace to all people on earth” more cumbersome than “peace to his people on earth?’ ”

    David, this is not the best case for inclusive language. Jesus taught us to call God “our father”, therefore, the masculine pronoun is an accurate one.

    1. OK, but calling God “Father” doesn’t answer the posed question. This particular example is not particularly good, since it does reference God, who did appear to us as a male, but the linguistic question is still very valid.

  54. Just wanted to jump in here for a minute–have been out of touch with this dicussion for awhile but see that the tone is still the same–I have 2 comments–first, when the vernacular was introduced in the 60’s the people who were charged with translating and administering this did so within a context of ‘opening the windows’ to the modern world–why wouldn’t members of the Church welcome such a change? The hierarchy (those interested in how the laity worshipped) was responding to a perceived need on the part of the laity to worship better, to participate more fully, in Church life.
    And as far as seeing the liturgy wars as a power struggle, that is exactly what this has been all about. Those who have been involved know this to be true.

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